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The Artist Is Present: Williams Chechet Utilizes Pop Art To Remind You To Know Your History

Meet the Nigerian multi-hyphenate creative whose work speaks for itself—check it out with OkayAfrica.

Williams Chechet is a multi-talented pop artist, graphic designer, illustrator and muralist who's one to watch. The Nigerian creative is influenced by his culture, history, afrofuturism, afrobeats and hip hop—and this screams at you when looking at his body of explosive work.

He seamlessly speaks through his vibrant visuals. Chechet's past work and due props include a series centered around leaders in Nigeria, a renowned celebration of heritage called We are the North on Northern Nigeria, a CNN Africa feature, a mural for Hard Rock Cafe Lagos, live art on MTV Base, album covers for M.I., Jesse Jagz, Ice Prince, clothing with Pop Caven and an American streetwear brand we can't disclose just yet. More recently, he's collaborated with Cameroonian pop artist Fred Ebami on an icon series.


"Disconnect" from Willams Chechet's "We Are The North" series. Image courtesy of artist.

Born in Kano, raised in Kaduna and schooled in the eastern part of Nigeria, Chechet has moved around quite a bit. One thing has remained true no matter where he's been: art has always been a major part of his life. His story is a testament to the importance of being lead by your passion—he's been drawing since he was a kid. After reluctantly studying building engineering for 3 years, he switched gears and started anew with industrial and graphic design. He recounts schooling for a total of 9 years. While in school, he received a call from M.I. to design an album cover and this would be the beginning of his relationship with Chocolate City Records as a resident freelance artist. The opportunity would open many doors.

Today, he excels in a Nigeria where he doesn't always have the right tools to print or art materials to use. He excels on a continent where people have only recently started revering the creative industry. He reminds his viewers the importance of knowing their history and introduces Africa to the world by shedding light on his home. He states it is important to, "Hold on to Africa while embracing the West."

His creative process is one rooted in not planning things out. Like many artists, Chechet is often triggered by images. He's studied the work of Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kaus, Shepard Fairey, Ben Enwonwu and Lemi Ghariokwu. He intensely views the world around him. "Inspiration meets you when you are in the process of creating," he says.

The sky is truly the limit for this artist. He has desires to explore sculpture and photography and is set to exhibit in Marrakech and has a solo show in the works later this year.

His buoyant work is sure to draw you in as it has done for much of Nigeria—check it out below.

"Hadassah" from Williams Chechet's "We Are The North" series. Image courtesy of artist.

"Adamu's Weekend" from Williams Chechet's "We Are The North" series. Image courtesy of artist.

"BillioNaire" from Williams Chechet's "Royal Niger Company" series. Image courtesy of artist.

"Ham" from Williams Chechet's "We Are The North" series. Image courtesy of artist.

"16th" from Williams Chechet's "Royal Niger Company" series. Image courtesy of artist.

"Excellence" from Williams Chechet's "We Are The North" series. Image courtesy of artist.

"PoP from Williams Chechet's "We Are The North" series. Image courtesy of artist.

"Rouge" from Williams Chechet's "We Are The North" series. Image courtesy of artist.

Audrey Lang is an alumna of Northeastern University and a Boston-based site merchandiser. A surveyor of life who's enamored with all things fashion, art and Africa, keep up with her on Instagram and Tumblr.

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Casanova, Davido & Tory Lanez' '2AM' Will Soundtrack Your Weekend

Flatbush meets Lagos and Toronto in this addictive new single.

Brooklyn rapper Casanova rolls through with an energetic new collaboration with Davido and Tory Lanez.

"2AM" sees the rapper going in over highly-infectious afrobeats-meets-pop beat work, in the same vein as we've heard from massive hits like "Unforgettable." The song was produced by 30 Roc.

The single features the star power of Davido and Tory Lanez which gives "2AM" the increased potential to be one of those huge new jams that'll be getting constant spins this year on both sides of the Atlantic (it's already got the top slot in Spotify's African Heat playlist).

The music video kicks off in Atlanta but eventually follows Casanova to Lagos, where he connects with Davido in Shitta. The clip was directed by Nigeria's Meji Alabi, the creative force behind many of your favorite afrobeats videos.

"2AM" is the lead single from Casanova's upcoming EP, Free At Last, which is due from Roc Nation/Def Jam Recordings on February 15.

We talked to Casanova below to learn a little more about this new collaboration and sound for him.

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Dive Into TOBi's New Music Video For 'City Blues'

The Nigerian-Canadian rapper delivers a solid jam.

TOBi is a Nigerian-born, Toronto-based rapper making music inspired by his early life move to Canada and the experiences around immigration and culture shock.

You might have previously heard his track, "Hidden Fences," closing out the finale of Insecure or gotten into his 2016 debut EP, FYi.

TOBi is now sharing the new single and music for "City Blues," which sees the rapper taking cues from Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues" over a beat produced by Free n Losh. It's the first taste we're hearing from his upcoming debut album due later this year.

"[City Blues is] written from one perspective within the African diaspora, pertaining to being caught between two worlds and reclaiming my ethnic identity," TOBi tells OkayAfrica. "Embracing my name has been a crucial part of my personal growth."

"I drew inspiration from the Shakespeare quote: 'All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.' City Blues speaks about the many roles that a human takes on at once but from my perspective," he adds.

Get into it below.

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Issa Rae to Star In Murder Mystery Rom-Com, 'The Lovebirds,' With Kumail Nanjiani

Issa Rae isn't playing with us in 2019!

Issa Rae has added yet another exciting project to her growing list for 2019, and we're totally here for it.

The actress and Insecure showrunner is set to star alongside comedian and Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani in the upcoming romantic comedy The Lovebirds, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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